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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K001329/1
Title: A Coordinated, Comprehensive approach to Carbon Capture and Utilisation
Principal Investigator: Allen, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Styring, Professor P Catlow, Professor R Azapagic, Professor A
De Leeuw, Professor NH Rothman, Professor R Sinclair, Professor D
Zimmerman, Professor W Bell, Dr R Hardacre, Professor C
Jacquemin, Dr JGP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 07 September 2012 Ends: 06 September 2017 Value (£): 4,559,973
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Design of Process systems
Gas & Solution Phase Reactions Heat & Mass Transfer
Multiphase Flow Reactor Engineering
Separation Processes
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Jun 2012 Programme Grant Interviews - 8 June 2012 (Engineering) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
There is a great deal of social angst about the future of our energy supplies and the impact of energy use on climate change. Yet, daily we discard vast amounts of energy in the form of wet wastes whose carbon content is eventually evolved to the environment. Anaerobic digestion, where wastes are consumed by bacteria in the absence of oxygen, is increasingly being used to convert the wastes into a stream of methane (i.e. natural gas). Unfortunately, the process also produces large quantities of CO2 which itself contributes to global warming and so subtracts from the environmental advantages of digestion. This project is looking at ways in which a portion of the methane can be used to convert the CO2 into fuel. The fuel that would be produced will be nearly carbon neutral in that it is made from carbon that otherwise would be released to the environment and because it displaces the use of fossil fuels. In order to demonstrate that there really are net energy benefits from taking this approach we will use whole process studies to track mass and energy flows. Moreover, we will tap into some of the latest thinking in quantitative sustainability analysis and consider simultaneously the environmental, economic and social impact of what we propose. We believe that social acceptability is a key criterion for introducing technology of this sort and we will be consulting stakeholders and incorporating their views into our analyses. We see a future in which CO2 will be sustainably captured and converted into valuable materials - Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU). Our work will ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the environmental case for CCU.

Not only is development of novel and necessarily complex processes required but also there will need to be real chemical engineering advances in terms of unit operations, materials and reaction routes. We have assembled a top level team of chemical engineers, physical chemists, theoretical chemists, environmental analysts and materials scientists to tackle this problem They will work on novel ways of separating the CO2 from the methane using a recently developed class of solvent materials, Ionic Liquids, that do not evaporate and which do not therefore create atmospheric emissions. These will be used in conjunction with a recent invention, the microbubble contactor, which promises drastically to cut the energy costs of the separation. The theoretical and physical chemists will look at novel approaches to catalysis which will let the reactions occur at under "green" conditions of temperature and pressure and the chemical engineers will look at novel reactors including high temperature gas electrolysis and corona assisted CO2 reduction.

Key Findings
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk